Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Notes of a Frugal Traveler -part 1

Life has no rewind button, so I have to take advantage of any travel opportunity that comes my way, even if  it meant leaving a career behind  and  a one year old son under the care of my parents. I was blessed to see the world on gratis. It was a time when we need  to nurture a very young and fragile marriage. The  vessel  was trading the Seafarers paradise in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador , Peru and Colombia) and Europe. The women are gorgeous, pretty and caring no wonder why any seafarer can easily fall into the trap of falling in love with them. The sea transit may not be easy for a woman who has a motion sickness  (sea sick) ...Often times, I survived a 14 days voyage  at sea with soup and a glass of warm water only, that's all that my stomach can take, despite the anti-motion sickness medicines that I took before the onset of rough seas. But looking forward to seeing the famous landmarks in ports is a great consolation. In the port of  Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, I was fascinated by the following beautiful sights: 
"The Statue of Christ the Redeemer"  ( Cristo Redentor in Portuguese), is  a large art deco-style effigy, that stands 38 meters high. The statue is located at the summit of Corcovado mountain in Tijuca Forest National Park standing at 710 meters and over looking the city and the beach. The  Redeemer statue is reached by climbing up 222 steps. For those not wishing to make the arduous trek up the mountain, reaching the statue is possible by using the escalators. The view  underway up is alluring, but when you are at the top, the sight was a  splendor settings.

The Sugar loaf Mountains  or Pao de Asucar  to the locals , was where I experienced my first cable car ride.  It was where one of the James bond movies was filmed. Riding or walking,  the Sugar Loaf Mountain is a timeless attraction which should be taken advantage of by all who visit Rio. The views are gorgeous, the photo ops endless, and most of all the experience…..priceless!
The famous beach "Copacabana ", is a four kilometer strip of powdery fine white  sand beach that  serves up an animated menu of activities and sights as lengthy as its coastline.  Swimming in its crystal blue waters, where some beautiful ladies were in skimpy bikinis while others are even nude.  I just wished I had their guts and their well endowed bodies. Public display of affection is a sight everywhere, it might be  shocking  to the ultra conservative tourist but that is part of their culture. It pays to be a Brazilian...amorous , loving , caring, and sugary sweet!
However, being dared by the young Brazilian ladies to dance non-stop : the samba,  the lambada, swing, and cha-cha was a ''challenge" that I have bitten the bullet with. Ladies, you may possess that "angelic face , gorgeous bodies and the youth",  but I have the "heart and the soul" of the Officer  that  you are flirting and chasing with. Nevertheless, I gamely agreed to a dance showdown of my life, and am glad that I made  it well enough to gain the awe and admiration of the locals. It  gave me the chance to show that a Filipino Seafarers wife's is not dumb, but a  beautiful woman of character and values. After that incident,  during our next calls in any South American ports, no one dared to challenge me again.
The second time we called Rio de Janiero, we experienced the warmth of  the "Brazilian hospitality",  the  vessel's charterer  was very generous. They sent bouquet of fresh flowers,  basket of  fruits and  boxes of baked pastries everyday to the ship. Every night,  they invited us for dinner ashore in churascaria,  live sea food restaurants and other local specialty food shops. 

Thereafter,  we watched  different cultural shows, a prototype of the famous "Carnival in Rio" ,  sung in upscale music lounges,  danced in different disco houses ,  had a night swimming in  the famous Copacabana beach, all  through out the one week stay in port. It was really amazing, truly magical Brazil!

Having circumnavigated  the globe by sea, as part of a shipboard executive's spouse privilege,  made me a better wife . It  was a perfect avenue in helping me understand  the predicaments of my husband's job,  and became less  critical nor judgmental of the seafaring professionals in general. It made me more compassionate  of  their emotional angst while at sea and the sad experiences of the men who were once called the "Prisoners of Steel"..
Vai Brasil...hasta la vista!

image source: famous wonders.com
This article  is also published in http://www.cebupacificpromos.com/notes-of-a-frugal-traveler-part-1/ an entry to their monthly contest.

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